Brunch is the new dinner—or didn’t you get the memo, parents? At very least, it’s a great excuse to get out of the house, skip preparing a meal, and assimilate your children into society. Only problem is, not everyone appreciates that (for many kids, at least), table manners and using “indoor voices” are works in progress.
At these family-friendly Toronto restaurants, not only will you not get sideways glances or judgemental whispering, you may be bestowed with crayons, kid-size cups, mountains of napkins, ample high chairs, and change tables.
All of these restaurants have excellent options for kids—either a dedicated kids’ menu or kid-appropriate à la carte breakfast items. And all have great food for adults as well.
If you have more suggestions, please share! Here at Help! we love your help, too!
West End Brunch
A huge dining room and a nice outdoor patio. It’s open early and has a steady buzz that covers all manner of…slip-ups in manners. On the menu: warm scones, kids’ egg breakfast, three typs of eggs Benedict, croque monsieur, chicken and waffles. 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042
Kids can line dance during the Sunday Bluegrass Brunch. It’s a set buffet menu, with reduced price for children. On the menu: scrambled eggs, pancakes with apple compote, baked beans, bacon, yogurt and granola. 249 Ossington Ave. (at Dundas St. W.), 416-850-4579
The Sunday Acoustic Family Brunch Buffet with family-style seating features bluegrass music at a “kid-friendly volume”. The classic buffet options change occasionally, but are likely to include scrambled eggs, toast, pancakes, bacon, yogurt, fruit, and more. 1214 Queen St. W. (near Dovercourt), 416-531-4635
At this Cuban brunch on Sundays, kids are encouraged to dance while parents get a beginner salsa lesson. Nosh on buffet staples of eggs, toast, bacon, etcetera, plus rice and beans and rice pudding. 1585 Dundas St. W. (near Dufferin), 416-588-0307
Some inventive takes on traditional diner fare, like Freedom Toast (baguette French toast with peameal bacon and Brie; available in a kid-size mini version), fresh-fruit smoothies and peanut butter milkshakes—and nine variations on poutine. Kids’ menu options are reasonably priced and there are many choices for vegetarians. Open 24 hours. 1132 Dundas St. W., 416-850-8886
Want to go for a trendy brunch and still rock a stroller? Try La Cubana: reasonably priced kid-size Cuban plates like the quintessential Cubano sandwich with plantain chips, a mini Cuban breakfast, and banana French toast. Be sure to order the house-made donuts to share! 392 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-538-7500
Roncesvalles is rumoured one of the most kid-friendly neighbourhoods in North America, and you can wander into almost any restaurant and find great food for brood. (The Ace is another fave, though we love it for dinner particularly.) The Westerly is a top pick for brunch: a big (for the ‘hood) and bustling spot with à la carte options for kids, including the amazing cheddar biscuits, and—for the parents—excellent coffee. Also on the menu are a Monte Cristo sandwich, crème brûlée French toast, and lemon-ricotta fritters. 413 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-551-6660
Looking for healthy options to appeal to the little ‘uns? The Beet in the Junction is all about local, sustainable, and healthy (note: there are many veg options, but it’s not meat-free), with fresh-squeezed and -blended juices, a children’s menu that includes a pureed meal for baby, plus a raw-cheddar and egg sandwich, and an awesome grilled banana and almond butter sandwich for kids or kids at heart. 2968 Dundas St. W., 416-762-0777
Boom Breakfast & Co.
East End Brunch
The early bird catches the table at this super-popular Leslieville restaurant. (It opens at 8 am.) The one time your kids waking at the crack of dawn comes in handy! A sizable menu with breakfast and lunch options: bennies, spinach-and-cheddar waffles, baked bread pudding, salads, and pulled port on baguette to mention a few. 898 Queen St. E., 647-351-7645
This Corktown spot serves up no-fuss eggs, hash browns, and bacon, western omelets, and breakfast sandwiches. It’s a perfect pit stop before heading to one of the many events at the Distillery District, out for a bike ride on the Don River Trail, or for playtime at the awesome new Corktown playground, with an unparalleled splash pad in summer months. It is small, so be there early or be prepared to wait. 457 King St. E., 416-703-4728
The comic book pages on the walls and the commissioned graffiti serve as decor at this fun restaurant. And a restaurant with kids’ eat free nights (Wednesdays 4–8 p.m.) is by definition kid-friendly. They’ve got a kids’ menu and a huge list of brunch options for everyone, including bennies, crepes, waffles, pancakes, omelettes, sandwiches, and salads. 1970 Queen St. E. (near Woodbine Ave.), 647-350-2261.
Bus Terminal Diner
Diners are always a great option with kids but this one is extra-special for its authentic 1950s look. The place has been in business since 1948 and has a retro-cool, curved exterior and, inside, chrome details, vinyl booths, and red-and-white checkered floor. The menu may be predictable—eggs to order, pancakes with fruit, sausage links—but everything is tasty and inexpensive. 1606 Danforth Ave. (at Coxwell Ave.), 416-463-4680.
Open for breakfast at 8 am seven days a week, Lazy Daisy’s is a farm-to-table café with a kids’ “brekkie” of free-run eggs and Mennonite sausage and specialties like Son of a Rise (bacon, cheddar, egg, avocado on a biscuit) for all. Plus, coffee is supplied by local roaster Pilot. Gluten-free options. 1515 Gerrard St. E., 647-341-4070.
Great fresh food, fabulous coffees and cocoas (including a peppermint hot chocolate—yum) and frappés, great soups for gluten-free diets, yummy sandwiches, and always filled with families. Highlights for the kiddos: PB&J croissant, Nutella and banana crepes, blueberry waffles, cheesy omelets. Highlights for you: breakfast tostada, chorizo omelet, maple lattes (hot or iced). 671 St. Clair Ave. W. (at Christie), 416-792-8696.
Always a sure thing, Boom has fast and friendly service, is open early (6 a.m. or 7 a.m. daily), and the food is always consistent. You’ll find all manner of eggs, waffles, pancakes, and burgers and sandwiches, as well as smoothies, healthy options, and a kids’ menu. Don’t pass on the Boom frites. There are three locations in Toronto. Midtown: 1036 St. Clair Ave. W. (near Oakwood), 416-657-3447. Uptown: 174 Eglinton Ave. W. (near Yonge), 416-485-3447. Little Italy: 808 College St. (near Ossington), 416-534-3447.
At this no-fuss diner, food is simple, reliable, and delicious and comes with great service. We’re talking eggs sunny-side up with hash browns, sausage or bacon, and toast wedges. It’s a true diner, with booths and stools that spin, and opens at 6:30 a.m. The local police are there early, which is a bonus for three-foot and under crowd. 2363 Yonge St. (near Eglingon) 416-322-7111.
This classic diner is so kid-friendly (crayons arrive immediately), you might wonder at first glance whether there’s anything on the menu for you. There is. Comfort food ranges from eggs benny to all manner of pancakes. Plus, the service is friendly and the made-on-site donuts—powdered sugar, chocolate, or plain—are to die for. A few faves from the kids’ menu, from Sam, age 4½: the buttermilk pancakes (blueberry and chocolate-chip varieties available, too), all-day breakfast and the classic French toast. Plus, Greg’s ice-cream! 2590 Yonge St., 416-483-2590